Innovation & Technology

The Conference Board of Canada facilitates innovation—from inspiration to implementation—through impactful peer-to-peer learning and research. Our goal is to increase Canada’s global competitiveness by improving private and public sector innovation performance and technology creation and adoption. We achieve this by fostering Canada’s innovation ecosystem and studying the impact of technology on society.

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Recent releases

Directing the COVID Recovery: Assessing the Impacts of Potential Stimulus Policies in British Columbia

Canada suffered its worst recession in post-war history last year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the country lost over 3 million jobs and the unemployment rate rose to 13.7 per cent, the highest on record. As of early September, only 1.9 million jobs had been recovered. There could be significant permanent structural changes in affected industries, such as retail, tourism, transportation, and hospitality. In addition, some industries will be slower to recover than others..

Impact paper  |  15-min read
April 9, 2021

Automation in Canada

Our leaders need to be ready. Automation-enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics will cause swift changes in the skills many industries need. In Canada, nearly one in five employees are already in an occupation at high risk of automation, where transitioning into a lower-risk occupation would require significant retraining.

Online experience  |  8-min read
April 8, 2021
Client—Future Skills Centre

Preparing Canada’s Economies for Automation

Employment declines in occupations that involve routine tasks have been under way for decades. However, it is unclear how advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will impact local economies. As some occupations and industries are more vulnerable to automation than others, and regional economies have different occupational and industry mixes, regions may experience the impact of automation differently.

Issue briefing  |  15-min read
March 15, 2021

Leverage societal shifts to make Canada a global leader

Canadians are innovating and adapting as health emergencies, global warming and automation change our way of life. The COVID pandemic, for example, has accelerated technology adoption as people have sought to remain connected.

Op-ed  |  3-min read
February 22, 2021

Responding to Automation: Technology Adoption in Canadian Industries

Canadian industries have experienced rapid technological change with the advent of several transformative innovations over the past decade. Different technologies pose different re-skilling and occupational transition challenges across industries. Business leaders need to be mindful of which technology they adopt.

Impact paper  |  20-min read
January 28, 2021
Client—Future Skills Centre

Tech Checkup: Mitigating In-Person Risks

Organizations have changed how they do business. To adhere to social distancing measures and mitigate the risks of COVID-19, they have adopted new technologies and adapted their business models, services, and processes. These changes have allowed key Canadian industries to stay connected with their clients and continue meeting their needs.

Online experience  |  8-min read
January 11, 2021

Artificial intelligence will underpin Canadian innovation and global competitiveness

Data has been called the oil of the 21st century. And Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms and tools are commonly described as the new refineries that will convert the data into value-added products, services and platforms.

Op-ed  |  4-min read
October 29, 2020

Creating opportunity in the pandemic recovery through digital infrastructure

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about major change for a vast majority of knowledge workers. COVID has accelerated the underlying technological transformations shaping how Canadians work, and emphasized the inequalities across regions in our ability to access digital infrastructure. Increased reliance on digital connections has also increased the risk to cyber attacks.

Op-ed  |  3-min read
October 27, 2020

Tech Checkup: Dealing With Technology Change in Pandemic Recovery

Since the onset of the pandemic, a large swath of Canada’s workforce has been working remotely. This means employees are removed from the support of the office. How have technology leaders been preparing their organizations for this new way of working? Are our cyber strategies keeping up?

Online experience  |  3-min read
October 15, 2020

Changing With the World: Canadian CIO Outlook 2019–20

As technology becomes increasingly synonymous with business, the CIO role continues to evolve. With this comes changing expectations about how CIOs can best fulfill that role. CIOs are at the heart of organizational change. They must identify and understand the most pressing information technology issues and adapt their organizations accordingly.

Issue briefing  |  10-min read
September 29, 2020

Keeping it cool: Data use and our warming planet

Historically, the GHG emission impacts of rising internet use have been offset by rising efficiency and use of renewable energy. However, the pandemic-induced spike risks increasing the carbon footprint of data flows.

Commentary  |  3-min read
July 22, 2020

Critical role of Canada’s digital infrastructure in a post-pandemic world

So far, Canada has struck the right balance of private and public investments in digital infrastructure, putting us in an enviable position.

Commentary  |  3-min read
July 22, 2020

Transforming our approach to supply chains for sustainable economic growth

Canada’s continued prosperity in a globalized, knowledge-based economy will be driven, in part, by our transition to a set of next-generation technologies, popularly known as “industry 4.0” technologies.

Commentary  |  4-min read
June 11, 2020

Bracing for Automation: What Are Canada’s Most Vulnerable Jobs?

In an era of lightning-fast technological change, it’s more important than ever that Canadian leaders understand how the adoption of new technologies will impact Canada’s labour force.

Online experience  |  8-min read
May 28, 2020
Client—Future Skills Centre

Capability-centred innovation in post-pandemic Canada more important than ever

Digitization has become a reality for Canadians a lot quicker than the experts would have predicted only a few weeks ago. Digital cafés, Google meet-ups, and other virtual remote work arrangements have enabled us to continue to be productive and social.

Op-ed  |  3-min read
May 11, 2020

The role of technology in patient contact tracking during public health emergencies

In an ideal world, everyone would have the opportunity to practice physical distancing as prescribed by public health officials. Unfortunately, for many people, doing so can be challenging, due to their type of employment, social requirements, or awareness levels.

Op-ed  |  3-min read
May 6, 2020

An Introduction to Cyber Insurance: Understanding the Canadian Ecosystem

While cyber risk cannot be eliminated, it can be controlled. Every organization today that works with digital data is vulnerable to cyber attack. While it is impossible to completely abolish the risk of becoming a target, this risk can be managed—primarily though retaining cyber insurance.

Issue briefing  |  15-min read
December 13, 2019

Finding focus: The future of work in Canada

Defining the future of work is a complex and multifaceted task. Much of the existing research looks at the tasks that employers will automate, the workers they will displace, and the skills needed to complete said tasks.

Commentary  |  2-min read
October 1, 2019

Lessons From Hurricane Harvey: Shoring Up the Emergency Management Cycle

In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in southern Texas, ravaging Houston and the surrounding area. Over four days, 33 trillion gallons of rain fell. Some areas experienced significant flooding as waterways and reservoirs were overwhelmed. The structure of this briefing reflects that of an emergency management cycle.

Issue briefing  |  15-min read
October 24, 2019

Driving Knowledge Management for Innovation

Good knowledge management (KM) and innovation are strongly connected. Drawing on a literature review and interviews with innovative organizations, this briefing identifies and explores KM best practices.

Briefing  |  4-min read
May 25, 2015